It’s important to leverage every avenue that could lead to a potential sale. Unfortunately there are so many time-consuming steps involved in selling your business online that it can sometimes be overwhelming. Yahoo! has taken a proactive approach and launched Yahoo! Local Neighbors as a tool for people in any community to make announcements, get answers, buy and sell things, and comment on the places around them.
Yahoo! Local Neighbors is a combination of the popular Yahoo! Answers and Yahoo! Local Search. The idea is simple: Give people the ability to explore their community and allow others to comment and make relevant suggestions.
Sounds like a perfect place to advertise and market your business, right? Well, not exactly. Yahoo! makes it very clear even before you post a topic that, “Starting a new topic to promote a business is not allowed. This includes local small businesses and any message content that is an unsolicited commercial posting.”
This may seem like a dead end for marketing your business, but it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the tool. In fact, it puts you in a better position than you would be in actually doing the marketing yourself for two simple reasons:
- Credibility: A tool like this creates buzz within a community, allowing a business owner with good reviews to capitalize on customer service and grow by word of mouth from customers. When people in the community are speaking positively about your services, you’re essentially getting a free commercial that says your company is reliable.
- Trustworthiness: Self-promotion is one thing, but when the public is promoting your business, it boosts customers’ confidence and lets them know they can count on you to get the job done right. Many people take online customer reviews very seriously and they’re often the first thing they look for when making a decision.
What’s more is that Yahoo! does incredible numbers on a daily basis. And like Yahoo! Answers, which has astonishingly high search engine rankings, Yahoo! Local Neighbors is built with SEO in mind. This means that when people talk about your business, provide links, and direct others to your site, you’ll be placed higher in local searches in your immediate area. Remember that these local conversations usually have keywords and phrases attached to them, which makes it great for business owners to rank high in small cities and towns.
Another great feature it provides is a number of RSS feeds and e-mail updates to those using the service. For instance, a restaurant owner could sign up for the “Restaurants and Nightlife” category to track and stay connected with other restaurant owners while using the RSS service as a reputation-management tool to see who’s talking about the competition and what they’re saying.
Yahoo! Local Neighbors also gives its users the option of downloading a print-quality PDF “flier” that’s customized for every town. The great thing about this is that your business’s information can now be passed around via e-mail or printed and physically shared. While Yahoo! isn’t a new kid in town, it’s definitely a neighbor you need to introduce yourself to.